Not to beat a dead horse, but: Head vs Heart? - Ducati Monster Forums: Ducati Monster Motorcycle Forum

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Old 09-29-2010, 10:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Not to beat a dead horse, but: Head vs Heart?

I know it's been asked a thousand times, sometimes even exactly as I've phrased it. But the truth is, I've read through many, many posts that start like this and haven't really found what I'm looking for. So here goes my attempt:

I'm completely new to riding - no dirt bikes or anything with a motor (though I am pretty skilled with a bicycle ). I'll be taking the MSF course ahead of next season, and believe it or not, I'm even building myself a full size "mini" bike to play with in the interim (call me crazy...). And though my ultimate aspiration is to get onto a middleweight sport bike like the 848, I'm obviously going to have to start out on something tame first. The most obvious and logical choice would be something like a Ninja 250/500 - and even though the new 250 is a decent looking bike, the allure of a Ducati is extremely hard for me to resist. I've got my eye on the 620, as most accounts indicate that it's an acceptable bike to start on and I've been able to source them in an affordable price range around here. Should be a no-brainer, right?

Wrong. Most non-Ducatistas I've spoken with advise against starting on a Ducati - even a smaller, cheaper one - because of the whole "you're guaranteed to drop it" thing, and the "prohibitive" repair costs vs a budget starter bike. I don't like to hear it, but it makes sense. However, the part that disturbs me more is the bit where people say I'll learn more or learn faster on a 250, etc, because it handles "better"... I can deal with the excessive cost of parts - you've got to pay Ducati to play Ducati, right? - but as someone with aspirations to ride and race sport bikes at the track, I don't really want to limit myself in terms of learning how to ride right. And so, it would seem the dowdy, generic starter bike is the real no-brainer.

But this is where I get stuck every time: My head knows the generic starter bike is a better choice for what I want to do - it's cheaper to acquire, cheaper to own, and arguably easier to ride fast. But my heart refuses to let me settle on something other than a Ducati, because everything else just doesn't have that Ducati allure. Call it squid-ish if you will, but I do place importance on the appeal of a motorcycle. So here's what I'm getting at: We know the 620 is a fine bike to start on, but how does it stack up against something like a Ninja 250 when it comes to really learning how to ride, particularly with respect to track riding and racing? Will sacrificing a little of that last degree of performance to appease my heart's calling for a Ducati come back to bite me when I eventually switch over to a full-on sport bike?

Thanks for your time.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Anyone who says you can't learn as much on a better bike is an idiot! How does that make any sense? "It does less so it's better to learn on", that's the opposite of how I look at it. If you want to be able to handle a bike that is capable, you have to ride a bike that is capable. There's nothing wrong with a Ninja 250 except that its not the bike you want, it will never be the bike you want and therefore you will sell it after 2 or 3 months when you are bored with it. If you start with a bike that excites you then you will keep it and even if you drop it and have to fix it, ultimately thats gonna be cheaper than buying 2 bikes. There is a little truth to starting with a bike that is more tame. The most talented riders can do some pretty amazing things on little bikes, the rest of us will have to compensate with faster bikes. Just understand they only go as fast as you tell it to. Every bike has enough power to get you into trouble, not every bike has power and handling to get you out of it. Ride every bike you can until you find what feels right, even if it's not what you thought you wanted. Head or Heart? Why not both?
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've heard arguments on both sides as well. If a 620 is a decent starter bike then go with it. I bought my first bike in January thinking that was the style of bike I wanted and then not long after that, a couple months maybe I started looking at other bikes and fell in love with Ducati's as well. I'm looking at getting into a 796 myself pretty soon here. I agree with aywiild though, your first bike definitely won't be your last but if you get something you really want you will keep it longer and be more satisfied longer. As far as dropping it goes, I haven't dropped mine in the last 10 months since I've had it, it isn't necessarily a guarantee that you will crash or drop your first bike.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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buy it if you must, this is where donner bikes and parts come from.

it is tough to put ego and want over what is best for you.

point is, the smaller the bike, the more confidence inspiring it is, and the faster you can learn the skills that willkeep you save and alive on a bike,
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I look at it this way...never tempt the devil therefore a smaller less threatening machine is advice I like to give until you get some miles under your belt. For my opinion on the question head vs. heart...that is answered by why you are getting a bike in the first place. Is it low cost transportation? Then I would go with the run of the mill Japanese entry level bike. For me riding is a passion...I always go with the heart. Besides there are plenty of "crash protectors" that you can bolt on to protect expensive parts in case of a tip over.
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Both points have merit. Your decision should depend on how mature and relaxed/confident you are.

I took the MSF course in May, 2010, had never ridden before. Bought my S2R 1000 in June and have loved every second of it. I was urged to get a bike which would not bore me and it was good advice for me. You must be mature enough to respect the power as you gain skill and confidence. And you won't drop any of the bikes you're considering if you relax and pay attention to what you're doing.
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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And, of course, chics dig the duc...
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Heres my 2 cents. Every one who has made a post so far has a point in one way or another, minus Bully Quote "And, of course, chics dig the duc...". Well he did but on a different topic all together, important just not in this thread. Its ok to get a piece of crap the first time around. My first bike was a Kawi 440 Ltd when I was 15.Then I bought the same bike just a 750 later, then a Honda cbr 600 and so on. I rode a 900 for a bit, hell I bought my girl a Honda rebel and I rode the little f*cker a few times and it was a blast lol. I ride a 696 now but I bought it to help with building some more credit not for the motor cc and didn't want to spend the cash for a 1100. Plus I knew it was more than enough bike to have a good time on. At the time there was not talk of a 796. Duc's are expensive to maintain and repair mostly because the dealers are raping us. As long as the bike you choose is a racing inspired bike then I think you will find what you are looking for to start of with. Oh Ive been riding for almost 15 years and I droped my bike a few weeks ago on loose gravel after a rain storm in MY long dirt drive way. A place I know better than almost any other road my bike goes down. So dropping a bike happens even to long time riders. I was lucky the dirt was loose so no major damage just a scratch on the tank in the clear coat, buffed right out and a bent handle bar. That went in the trash and I bolted a new one on. So I say go with a cheap priced bike that is in good running condition that is race inspired and have at it. If in 6 months you still wanna ride a sport bike and need more then sell/trade in your old and get some thing new. Its going to be a learning bike right ? So spend a little, get your feet wet, then dive in. I would stick with some thing larger than a 250 though. Cause your for sure going to want more bike than that really fast but getting some thing really big and fast would prob be a bad idea also. Not for learning reasons, a bike is a bike and as some one already said it goes as fast as you tell it to go no faster. A under powered bike can be just a deadly as a over powered rider on a big boy bike. And by god please remember you don't have to buy from a dealer. Private sales are fine, just take your time and do your home work first. I'm in the market for another Duc as we speak but I'm keeping my 696. I love that bike its so light and in the twistes it thrives. Sorry started to drift there. Good luck.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The fellow I spoke with for an extended period the other day at a local race shop was trying to turn me away from a Duc and towards a Ninja 500 - My quick stat check indicates the 500 is a ~50hp bike, and the M620 is a ~60hp bike. Now it could just be me and my heavily auto-based background, but 10hp doesn't seem like it would be enough to differentiate the two bikes as "tame" and "intimidating", respectively. So does it come down to the chassis then? I'm told the smaller Monsters are pretty forgiving...

I think a lot of the justification that I do for the Monster stems from a point y'all bring up here: I don't want to be "stuck" with a bike I don't enjoy. One of THE biggest turn-ons for me in terms of motorcycles is the excitement factor - for example, the 848 I referenced in my op has a similar effect on me as something like a Ferrari F430 would, and it comes at about 1/25th of the price. My projected financial situation indicates that the bike I buy when I pull the trigger early next season will (aside from some off-chance lateral trade or something) be THE bike I have to ride for the following ~12 months - I'm going to loose more or less all of my discretionary income to summer classes, so I won't have the funds to get into a different bike if I decide 3 months in that a Ninja 250 just isn't doing it for me. So I think that's a lot of what's driving me to the Duc, because I KNOW it'll make my heart sing for as long as I need it to, even if it does mean starting off at a slight disadvantage. I just don't want to feel like I'm stuck in something that's weak or unattractive, you know? I feel like that'd kill a lot of the experience for me. But I don't want to be dead, either...

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I started riding with zero experience, bought a bike in mid-life crisis. I was an avid bicyclist, from the time I could walk. I never dropped any of my motorbikes, except parking in gravel. That was an ego-dumper. I pulled a tendon in my elbow lifting that damned Honda, that served me well, back onto the stand. A good motorcycle, or a great one, like a Monster, will accelerate your learning curve, and the horizon.
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